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Press Release

Attorney General Holder Statement on the Passing of Civil Rights Leader John Doar

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Tuesday on the passing of civil rights leader John Doar:

"John Doar was a giant in the history of the Civil Rights movement, a courageous advocate for those who suffered discrimination, and a true champion of justice and equality over the course of many decades devoted to improving the country he loved so dearly.

"From Selma, to Montgomery, to the campus of Ole Miss, he stood with pioneers, rode with Freedom Riders, and marched with those who called for nothing more – and nothing less – than the rights which were theirs under the Constitution.  At a time when America's cities rioted – and Mississippi burned – he was never far from the front lines of this momentous struggle, leading efforts to overturn an unjust status quo and striving to achieve justice for civil rights workers who were senselessly murdered.

"Brave but unassuming, passionate but unbiased, he repeatedly risked his life to preserve the rule of law and stand up for that which was right.  He was one of the greatest leaders the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has ever known.  And during a period of great national turmoil and transformative change, alongside countless other leaders and seemingly-ordinary citizens, he helped usher in a brighter dawn, and build a better future, for everyone in this country.

"I have always regarded John Doar as a personal hero and an embodiment of what it means to be a public servant.  In so many ways, he defined what is best about the Department he served so faithfully during one of its golden eras – proving every day, by word and by deed, that the law can be a strong, deft instrument of lasting, positive change.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of John Doar's passing, and I join President Obama and others throughout the nation in extending my deep condolences to his family and friends.  Although he will be sorely missed, we vow today that his vital work will go on – and his contributions, and shining example, will not merely endure; they will continue to push us forward."

Updated August 28, 2015

Press Release Number: 14-1256